How To Winterize Your Windows
Winterizing your windows can offer great benefits for your budget, your ecological footprint, and your energy usage. By keeping windows energy-efficient, you can keep your house warmer in the winter with less energy expenditure, meaning your heating bills may be noticeably lower. And you'll be more comfortable when sitting next to the windows if they're not drafty--not to mention that you'll be less likely to have a mold or mildew problem caused by window condensation. Here are the basics of winterizing your windows.
Though your windows may have been caulked last year, they may not necessarily still be airtight this year. Caulking can dry out and crack, causing it to pull away from the surface it's intended to seal off. To replace the caulking, simply scrape off the old dried-out line and replace it with a new line in the same spot. If more than your caulking needs to be repaired, you may want to look into replacement windows.
Adding weatherstripping around the edges of the windows can provide another buffer to block winter winds that may be seeking entry. Apply the weatherstripping around the edge of the window that opens, and be sure to put some around your doors while you're at it. If done properly, this can provide additional insulation against the cold.
Insulating your window can be as simple as cutting a piece of bubble wrap to size, misting the inside of the window with water, then fitting the piece of bubble wrap into the window frame and sealing it off with packing tape. You may wish to avoid the water aspect of this activity if you have problems with mold and mildew already; the bubble wrap will still provide better insulation than nothing. The double-walled aspect of the bubble wrap helps prevent the transfer of heat, and leaving a small gap between the bubble wrap and the window helps even more with this insulating process.
If you live in a cold climate and your house doesn't have double-pane windows, strong measures are called for. Storm windows are an additional window that you fit onto the outside of each window in your house so that there's an extra layer of glass shielding the main window from the worst of the cold air, similar to putting a greenhouse over fragile plants. And if you combine their use with caulking and insulation, they can protect you from a lot of cold air that you'd otherwise suffer through.
Use these tips to help you get your windows ready for a long, hard winter. The effort may seem a bit much at first but your comfort is on the line, so set aside a few minutes or simply have a contractor do the work for you.